Shock horror! Barca like to pass the ball….

Iniesta
There is one thing that I can’t stand about football fans and that is the fickleness that arises once something doesn’t quite go the way you had hoped it would – or had planned. Last night’s victory for Barcelona was credited as a ‘win for football’ and we should all bow our heads in acknowledgment of the beautiful football that Barcelona play. In case anyone didn’t know – Barcelona have always played that way and will continue to always player that way. It is instilled in their blood and soul – ever since the days of Johan Cryuff. Barcelona play 4-3-3, all the way down to the youth teams might I add, as Cryuff believed there are more attacking options available to you. They also continue to produce the same type of ball playing footballers – do people believe this is coincidence??!

Lets face facts, non-United fans are over the moon at United squandering their European crown, in such a limp fashion, but you have to ask yourself ‘did Barcelona dominate proceedings or did United throw away an great opportunity?’ In reality it was a bit of both, Barcelona passed United off the park – like they would to any club – but it was United’s poor game plan that in my eyes was the inevitable downfall of the 2008 European Champions. Firstly, it was a brave move by Ferguson to take the game to Barcelona in the opening ten minutes as United tried to get that early goal – against the run of play Eto’o went down the other end and scored – an enormous blow to how United set out – it was a gamble that didn’t quite play off.

After that United didn’t turn up. Wayne Rooney was anonymous whilst Ronaldo proceeded in trying to take the whole side on his own (or trying to hard to impress Spanish opposition) – Michael Carrick and Anderson were chasing shadows and the whole defense looked shaky. It is painful to say but this is the reality of the matter – we had an opportunity to win back to back European Cups and we didn’t take it, simply because we didn’t compete with Barca after they scored and our initial gameplan was wrong.

There was far too much space between the defense and midfield, which gave the likes of Xavi, Messi and Iniesta time and space to pick their passes. I highlighted in the preview yesterday that United needed to contain Barcelona forcing them wide rather than through the centre – as we had done on the two previous occasions last season. Don’t be under the illusion Barcelona were a poor team last season – of course they’ve improved under a bright, young new manager – but they played the same way and we contained them. Its interested to see that the top three for pass completion were Xavi, Iniesta and Messi – whilst the next three, who were United players, were Ferdinand, Vidic and O’shea - highlighting where we and they played most of the football.

However, who I am to criticise Fergie? We’ve had an amazing season and were let down in the last game of the season. I’ve heard people talking about rebuilding and the end of the line for some players. I’ve never heard so much nonsense in all my life. A month ago United were on course for five trophies – something that in ridiculous to even consider. Twelve months ago we had won a glorious domestic and European double – only the second time in our 130 year history – indicating how difficult it is. But remember four years ago? The summer of 2004, Porto were European Champions and we were a million miles away from achieving what we did last season or even this season! Think about 1993 when the club had to wait 26 years to win a trophy – do people not remember this? We’ve been spoilt under Fergie and mark my words – this isn’t the end of this side yet.

Touching on the point raised in the opening paragraph about fickle supporters – it really does annoy me. How can you ninety minutes before think someone is a glorious champion then at the end of the game believe they are a total clown – its moronic! Remember United went unbeaten a record 25 times in Europe and lost to one of the best teams in the world. I accept that the performance was inept and Barcelona dominated proceedings but to sum up all the work you’ve done (over a couple of seasons in this instance) in one season in one game is plain ignorant. Forget Real Madrid’s nine European Cups and Liverpool’s five European Cup (arguably at a time where it was maybe easier to win the competition) – United should be proud to have had three amazing seasons where we tasted disappointed in Milan two years ago, success in Moscow 12 months ago and unfortunately – last night – we just didn’t turn up.

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14 Responses to “Shock horror! Barca like to pass the ball….”

  1. tom says:

    Load of bull. Utd didn’t turn up because at the end of the day, if you cant get the ball(and thats exactly what happened lst-could not get the ball) then you cant do anything. Lst night it wasnt utd didnt turn up, of course they did, it was the champs league final it was just that they were completley outclassed. Utd rely to heavily on a strong defence but when you up against the best midfield and attack in the world, well we saw what happned yesterday. And lets not forget how lucky utd always are to get there. Last year they were gifted the trophy by john terry, they didnt go out and win convincingly like barca, and the same in 99. Lets see where utd go frm here now that it seems their luck as evaporated

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  2. Rafa says:

    The bottom line is – you are not as good as you think you are – it really is that simple. The best team ever in the history of football… HA HA
    You are not even the best team in England (Liverpool scored more, lost less, beat you home and away convincingly, including a 1-4 hiding) – so who are you trying to kid?
    Last night your fans asked the question…. “ARE YOU WATCHING MERSEYSIDE?…” well we were, and we very much enjoyed watching you getting outclassed and royally played off the park.
    It was the manner of defeat which I found especially pleasing. Sir Red nose was shown up to be the tactical novis he really is, your midfield proved that as soon as you play against a team that can pass the ball – you are clearly 2nd rate (oh but…. Darren Fletcher would have made a massive difference… ha ha, pull the other one)
    SO…. player ratings
    1. Van Der Arsehole – 4/10 – Beaten at near post for 1st goal, clearly over the hill now
    2. Vidic – 3/10 – Only good against the shit teams – always looks a vulnerable against pace
    3. Ferdinand 4/10 – Mugged off by Henry like schoolboy and lucky he didn’t score
    4. Oshey – 6/10 – Despite being crap, was United’s best player on the night
    5. Park – 4/10 – Should never have started. Sympathy vote in a European cup final??
    6. Carrick 4/10 – Not enough quality at this level
    7. Giggs 3/10 – PFA Squad player of the year? Anonymous
    8. Rooney 2/10 – Played out of position – but sill probably the most overrated player i have ever seen
    9. Ronadlo 3/10- Played for himself, not the team – Not in the same class as messi, moody, temperamental, cheat, grease bag – Moving to Madrid any minute now
    10. Anderson 1/10 – Probably the worst performance I have ever seen by anybody in Champions league final
    11. Evra – 3/10 Shit himself, despite giving it billy big bollocks in the press
    12. Tevez – 5/10 – Looking forward to him signing for Liverpool
    13. Berbatov 3/10 – Clearly a complete waste of money
    14. Scholes – 1/10 – should have been sent off
    So all in all each and every one of your players’ let you and themselves down – but proved what the rest of us already knew – FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW – ynwa

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  3. Yolkie says:

    Hear hear. It’s certainly not the end of this side. Indeed, it could be the making of it.

    However the game did show that O’Shea and Park, as good as they have been this season, were out of their depth. O’Shea wasn’t awful or anything but I’ve said the same thing about Park for 2 years now, he’s an impact or rebound player, his on the ball ability leaves a lot to be desired.

    We need another winger of ability, Valencia appears to be Fergie’s man of choice and while I’d say the jury is out on him (especially at £15m+) we do need someone capable of actually dribbling with the ball.

    Last night’s midfield disaster wouldn’t have happened with Hargreaves or Fletcher in the team.

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  4. Gents – although you are both clearly over the moon you aren’t actually analysing the game in any detail at all. Yes United were outplayed by Barcelona, but that United side could have beaten Barcelona if we’d have played a more counter attacking game and contained their attacking threats. I’ve never seen Xavi and Ineista have so much space in the midfield before.

    So understandably – I can see why you are ecstatic that United lost but I would hope for more from you than ‘You’re shit we’re brilliant’ mentality.

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  5. Yolkie – I didn’t think the team selection was wrong to be honest – just the way in which United went about the park. I was shocked to see how far up the pitch we were in the first ten minutes – then when Eto’o scored we just fell to pieces. As much ‘Rafa’ and ‘Tom’ would love me to come out with excuses for why United should have lost – I do believe that Barcelona fully 100% deserved to win yesterday, however we didn’t even put up a fight – and I don’t put that down to technical ability, desire, passion or whatever nonsense excuse people usually throw at the English national team – I believe our initial gameplan was risk and ultimately our downfall.

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  6. Shantharam says:

    Excuse me for the language…But yes we din play at all well last night..The game plan din work at all..but to say that we are not good..man go fuck your asshole…it was shocking to see so much space given to Xavi and Iniesta ..and they are class palyers no doubt,and thts where United did wrong. Vidic wasnt his best. So all in all a night to forget..and fuck you mersyside..Yeah you did beat us, you lost less games, But you drew more and in the end WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS..you lost to CHELSKI in semi!! pathetic arent you?? you say you played the best football..you might have..and playing the bst football if you cant win anything go fuck off…YOur squad consist of just 2 players GERRARD and TORRES..take them off and that side is nothing but shitte and holy crap you aint gonna win anything for years to come..so piss off somehwere else babies…

    Well we din win the champions league this season,but it was a brilliant season nonetheless..so well done..and i am prety confident that next year we will win all the competition,such is the strength of this squad..

    GLORY GLORY MAN UNITED..

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  7. Rafa says:

    Dear Shantharam

    Your spelling is awfull – If you had a point, which I doubt, then it was lost.

    I dont want to take the piss out of somebody who clearly has learning difficulties, but if you want to make a tit of yourself in public then I guess you have the perfect role model in Sir Alex.

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  8. Yolkie says:

    “You are not even the best team in England (Liverpool scored more, lost less, beat you home and away convincingly, including a 1-4 hiding) – so who are you trying to kid”

    Who are you trying to kid? This mentality means that as Liverpool have never gone unbeaten in every season they’ve won the league (that’s 18, not 20) we can just as easily say they can’t claim to have been the best side because they were beaten. I might even go to work on the theory Arsenal’s unbeaten record doesn’t count because they didn’t beat us and during the run we beat them in the cup??

    Can’t you show at least a little grace in defeat, just because you had one title push in the last 20 years doesn’t mean that you deserve to win it.

    Absolute nonsense, you can always count on a Scouser to show themselves up.

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  9. Yolkie says:

    “but if you want to make a tit of yourself in public then I guess you have the perfect role model in Sir Alex”

    Remind me who said the following quotes in the same speech and not longer than 5 minutes apart.

    “But I have seen some facts. On November 1, they played Hull and Mr Ferguson had a two-match touchline ban and a £10,000 fine after confronting Mike Dean, the referee, for improper conduct”.

    “We had a meeting in Manchester with managers and FA about the Respect campaign. And I was very clear, forget the campaign because Mr Ferguson was killing the referees, killing Mr Atkinson, killing Mr Hackett. But he is not punished. How can you talk about the respect campaign and criticise the referee every single week? You can analyse the facts and come to your own decision and ideas. ”

    Until Sir Alex makes a public rant where he pathetically contradicts himself and blows his own argument up then you can be safe in the knowledge that you have the perfect role model in Rafa for “making himself a tit in public”.

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  10. Chris says:

    Good article – I agree, I was on the BBC forum after the game and listened to the 606 phone in…too many moron fans.

    Do they really think the Utd players didnt give 100%? OF COURSE THEY DID. Do you really think successful players like that just give up – no way, they gave their best.

    Did they say BEFORE the game that Ferguson had go this tactics wrong? NO. 3 weeks ago a similar system ripped Arsenal apart. Would Rooney centre, Ronaldo right, Scholes starting made a difference?

    Maybe stating the obvious but that one moment of slightly lax defending (compared to very high standards) in the 9th minute meant the complexion of the game totally changed. Would Barca have dominated the centre of midfield like they did had it none been for the early goal? I personally don’t think so.

    Phil McNulty on the BBC blog stated that Vidic gets nervous around world class players – Torres, Eto – does anyone agree?

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  11. Dapxin says:

    Your article was spot on!

    Some other teams fan talk nonsense and I can understand,but to listen to some fans on 606 last night talking nonsense basically made you wish to puke.

    But I disagree that it was all down to the gameplan, although it had a huge impact on the game, the 10th minute it went wrong.

    It was great United! died fighting, and not playing men behind the ball the way Chelsea did – thats the spirit that defines United! above the rest- even when it got us nowhere last night. I was proud of that, and will always be.

    The Eto o goal – class in itself – basically stumped the team, and we lost the initiative, which was rare on its own, but Barca’s play was responsible. They stole the initiative completely and never quite got it back.

    I feel sorry for SAF – for he was deeply hurt last night – like the rest of us, but we gotta concede the better team on the nigth won.

    I could watch Messsi’s header all day….and the Ronaldo complex has become what it was always going to be; a frustrating burden.

    Something will never change, but it was a final to forget but enjoyable in a twisted way.

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  12. guero says:

    Ferguson needs new glasses. For 90 minutes I watched Carrick cover either the ref or space. O’Shay wasn’t any better. This against Spain/Argentina’s midfield? There was never a link established on offense, and never the man covered on defense. This didn’t even look like Manchester Utd.

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  13. Rite$h says:

    Time United players learn how to pass and keep possession of the ball from the Barça players…And also time for Ronaldo to shut his trap up if he wants to play at OT, or else I will say good riddance, lets get Ribery or any one who is worthy of the Red shirt … also time for Rooney to get back to his old SS position on the field instead of LWF!

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  14. Shantharam says:

    Mr Rafa

    Due respects, but you do not seem to understand what i meant so for your sake am explaining it. “Liverpool no matter how less they won or how many more goals they have scored, faltered when mattered and did not have the mental strength to go on and keep the pressure on United. If i am correct, Liverpool had 7 or more points lead over united by December, but still they squandered that lead and in the end when it came to catching up with United you failed rather miserably. And how many players do you have that you can bank upon to get you out of a tight spot or to deliver a performance that will take your team to safety or victory? The answer is ONLY 2. Gerrard and Torres. Am not doubting the class or quality of these 2 but without them that side is seriously weak. On the other hand, every United player is capable of delivering a performance that will ensure their team all 3 points no matter what circumstances.And that is the reason why we won the league this season. WE got RESULTS” I hope my message was clear and as you pointed out sir, i do not have any kind of learning difficulties and i do seriously hope that you do understand what i mean. And as far as you said SIR ALEX FERGUSON to be my ideal role model, i would love that. I would love to meet this great, actually the greatest manager after SIR MATT BUSBY in BRITAIN.

    cheers,
    have a nice weekend
    Shantharam

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